Thursday, March 31, 2016

Interview with Fitness Pro Michelle Abbruzzese

Michelle Abbruzzese is the owner of the Work it Dance and Fitness studio that features Pole, Burlesque, and Tone & Tighten classes and she has recently put out 2 awesome DVDs. Read my reviews of her workouts here and keep reading below to learn more about Michelle.

Lindsey: What is your background in fitness & what motivated you to open your Work it Dance & Fitness Studio
Michelle: My background is extensive.  I have been training in dance for over 40 years. My mom put me in ballet and tap when I was 2 and I have been going ever since.  Throughout my dance training, I also studied jazz and pointe.  I performed in a local traveling dance troop as well as performed in many musicals/plays/cabarets until I went away to college.  When I was at University of CT, I was a Varsity Cheerleader where I was able to choreograph routines that were performed during Uconn Basketball games. At the same time, I began dancing/cheering for semi-professional basketball team called New Haven Skyhawks (USBL).  That was my first experience of what turned out to be a very long career as a professional dancer/cheerleader/emcee/choreographer. From there I performed for The Connecticut Pride (CBA), New England Seawolves (AFL2), Connecticut Crush (WNFL), Mohegan Wolves (AFL2), New York Dragons (AFL1), and New England Patriots (NFL) to name a few teams. Besides performing,  I also taught a dance based fitness class called "Groovology" for about 9 years, and a strength training class called "Body Method" for about 2 years at a local gym.  I was then introduced to a upcoming fitness craze by a former New England Patriot Cheerleader colleague...pole dancing.

I fell in love with this new found fitness style. Unfortunately, I was unaware that the studio that I was traveling over an hour to take classes from, was more interested in taking my money than advancing my skills.  It wasn't until I took a vacation and found a pole class at a local Miami gym that I realized just how much I was missing. I had been taking pole class for over 1 1/2 years and there were people that were only taking class a few months that were much more advanced in skills.  In that one class, the instructor taught me many more advanced moves and I was able to perform them with ease.  When I got home, I excitedly asked my home studio if I can continue to learn at the level that I was in Miami and was told no.  I would have to take more classes and spend more money to "test" if I was ready to begin learning those same moves. frustrated, I finally looked for another studio.  I found one much farther away, but the teachers were incredible and my skills improved rapidly.  I studied at that studio as often as I could and bought a pole to practice at home.  When I felt I was ready , I auditioned to teach at a local studio that opened up 30 minutes north of me.  I got the job and loved teaching this new style of fitness.  I love the way it made me feel.  I loved the way it made my clients feel.  I loved how it was changing my body to be in the best shape I'd ever been in.  I felt like a Cirque du Soleil performer, defying gravity and doing it gracefully.

About a year went by and I started working on opening my own fitness studio. I wanted to open a place that was completely different than anything seen in CT.  I wanted a place that people looked forward to going to and classes that were as fun as they were challenging.  I wanted to open a place where clients felt like they were a part of a family, a place people could feel comfortable learning new things without the fear of judgement.  I wanted a place that people could learn dance based fitness that isn't typically found in the "big box" gyms. Most of all, I wanted people to learn at their own pace, and not hold them back if they were ready to advance. 

Lindsey: Your studio features burlesque style workouts, pole dancing fitness, and belly dancing workouts. How do you think these types of workouts benefit & empower the women that attend your classes? 
Michelle: Here's a few recent quotes from some of my clients.  I think their words sum it up nicely: 

"I am in love with it! I can not believe how much benefits I am getting from it. I just started 3 wks ago doing the intro to pole and the tone and strengthening. I only visit 3x a wk and I couldn't be more excited every time I go to the studio. The exercises and routines are all fun coupled with fun and friendly instructors and classmates, couldn't ask for more. It's challenging and very fun at the same time. You wouldn't think you are exercising which I always feel when I'm in the gym, that's why it did not work for me. This is far the most fastest way that gave me results in a couple of weeks that I've been doing it with out a strict diet. I am leaner and stronger. It's addicting! Can't wait for the weeks to come that I can be able to do hard tricks. 
More Power to you!" Rosheila R. (left on Facebook 3/15/16)

"Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming. My first night there they made me feel like family" Kyera L. (Facebook)

5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2016
The best workout you will ever have. It's hard exercise but you don't realize it until the end. And it made me feel like a goddess (I really needed that too). While in the gym you work one set of muscles at the time, in the time you use one machine with pole dancing you use all the muscles. The stretches are amazing and I learnt the first crunches that don't involve your neck but use just the abs. It's also very sexy and empowering. I just started and I am now taking 3 classes a week. When you try it you will feel a very fit, fantastic, sensual goddess. Who wouldn't like to feel that way?" Niki C. (Trip Advisor)

Lindsey: I recently had the pleasure of reviewing your 2 new Work It DVDs and really enjoyed them. Do you have plans for future workouts?
Michelle: I am delighted that you liked them!  If these two videos are successful (DVD and digital downloads) I would love to create more! I have already received requests to do another Burlesque workout and this one has been out less than a year!
" I decided to break out of my comfort zone & order the Burlesque workout. I previewed it yesterday and worked out to it today and I am so in LOVE with this dvd!! Thank you for being such a great instructor on this giving ques that were 'just right' I was able to follow, stiff as I am, I felt allot of tightness busting away with each section. Please put out another workout like this it is so amazing & it made me feel like I had an inner Diva (which I can't believe I have one LOL). I am so thankful to the lady who mentioned your workout & I have posted my rave review on Ellen's fan page (because so many were curious as to what it was like) I want to praise this workout & beg you to do another. I don't know how many moves there are in Burlesque but you made it come so easy that I felt allot of confidence because each move was so approachable broken down just right.  Anyway, I love it!! And wanted you to know."  Liz H. (Facebook message)

Lindsey: Do you have any funny or interesting fitness stories you can share?
Michelle: The TV network TLC was at Work It recently to shoot an episode of "My Giant Life" with their star "Kara Wolters" taking my Burlesque class!  She is 6'7" and you could see she was uncomfortable with the moves that were so foreign to her.  By the end of the class, she began to let her guard down and just have fun.  At the end of class, the most amazing thing happened.  The women from the class were showering Kara with positive affirmations and sharing stories about their fears and anticipation of what they would be able to do in our classes.  One by one they told amazing stories that ranged from escaping bad marriages, low self esteem, recovering from injuries, battling illnesses, overcoming aversions, and how Work It Dance and Fitness was their escape, their
inspiration, their home. Kara told me that she was blown away by how kind everyone is and how happy everyone seemed. She said she would definitely come back...when the cameras aren't rolling!

Lindsey: What does your weekly fitness routine look like?
Michelle: Mondays: Teach Tone and Tighten (1 hr), then teach Pole Fitness (1.5 hrs)
Tuesdays: Teach Burlesque (1 hr), then take bellydance lessons (1 hr)
Wednesdays: Teach Tone and Tighten (1 hr), then teach Flexibility and Injury Prevention (1.5 hrs)
Thursdays or Fridays: Dance rehearsal for an upcoming International Expo where I'll be teaching Burlesque class and performing in a showcase with two wonderful girls form my Work It family!
Saturdays: TeachTone and Tighten, then take bellydance, then teach Pole Class (1 hr), then teach private pole or burlesque parties (1 to 2.5 hrs)
Sundays: Teach Intro to Pole (1 hr) and Pole Flow Choreography (1 hr) 

I also do 30 minutes of cardio every other day.

For More Information, Visit: 

lI have worked with Michelle previously and received samples of her products to review. I was in no other way compensated for my honest reviews. All thoughts and ideas expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Please see my disclosures page for details. Do not copy, in whole, or in part any portion of any postings on my blog. Do not repost my content on any other site without my explicit consent. All of my postings belong solely to

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